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French GP weighing alternating on calendar to preserve F1 future

French GP weighing alternating on calendar to preserve F1 future

F1 News

French GP weighing alternating on calendar to preserve F1 future

French GP weighing alternating on calendar to preserve F1 future
Ian Parkes & Guillaume Navarro

The French Grand Prix is considering rotating on future calendars in a bid to preserve its F1 future, GPFans can reveal.

After a nine-year absence and preceding that an 18-season run at Magny Cours, the race returned to the Paul Ricard circuit in 2018 for the first time since 1990.

The venue signed an initial five-year contract which expires this year, making it one of the favourites to fall off the calendar next season under F1's growing expansion plans.

For this year, there are a record 23 events - with Qatar set to replace the axed Russian race in September.

Next season, the Chinese GP is scheduled to return, while Qatar officially begins its permanent 10-year deal. F1 is also set to soon announce a race in Las Vegas from 2023.

At present, there is scope within the Concorde Agreement to expand to 24 races but with the aforementioned trio all due to come on board next year, two races have to make way.

France's fate is not helped by the fact the race is supported by the state via various governmental subsidies for sports and tourism, while there is also regional back-up.

It is understood Paul Ricard officials are in direct contact with the office of President Macron in a bid to secure further financial support.

While it is the aim of French GP organisers to retain a permanent place on the calendar, one of the options under consideration to ensure it has a presence going forward is to alternate every two years with another event.

Discussions are currently ongoing with F1 on a variety of scenarios. Alternating is on the table, particularly given the burgeoning interest from other countries in staging events.

As F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali remarked this week, the interest is such the sport could stretch to 30 races if all countries were handed a contract.

F1, though, is keen on a number of hosts alternating to ensure they can play a part in its future, with France among those under consideration.

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